Showing posts with label re3. Show all posts
Showing posts with label re3. Show all posts

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Future Rereads... Maybe...

If you read my "Ten Years of The Pewter Wolf" post at the start of the year, you might have read a small paragraph where I said I would like to try and reread some books from my early blogging days. And while I have done some rereads (at the time of writing this posts, I have reread around 11 books - check out the #re3 tab to see some of my rereads this year and back in the past (up to around 2013 when I started #re3), I've not done some of the titles I had in mind. So, here's a small post, chatting about SOME of the titles I have my eye on trying to reread by the end of this year/end of next year (2021).

Now, some of these titles I have read and reviewed on the Pewter Wolf and others were before Pewter Wolf began. Plus, am going to pick a few that you might not see coming and only going to give you a few titles as the rest I want to be a surprise to you and to myself. As you are probably aware, I don't do monthly TBR posts... though maybe I should for a while...

Getting away from the point of this post!

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

#re3 - Illuminae

Ok, I did warn you that I might mix things up on the Pewter Wolf and on my Goodreads ( for the next few months, till I find my groove back with reading and blogging (this is a strange new time!), but after listening to the audiobook of Illuminae (a reread, as first read it back in 2018), I knew I wanted to talk about this so, let me get the typical “Here’s all the Info/links” rubbish out of the way and we can talk! 

  • Title And Author: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  • Publisher: Rock The Boat
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 608 Pages or 11 Hours 40 Minutes
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones - Audible

Now, I’ve already read this so this is a reread and I know most of you guys have read this as you are much better readers than me, but if you haven’t, Illuminae is a bit of a weird one. But in a good way. Stay with me with this as I try (and fail) to explain this. 

The year is 2527 and two megacorporations are at war over a tiny, ice-speck of a planet. Shame no one thought to warn the people on the planet. As enemy fire falls down on them, Kady and Ezra must make their escape to the evacuating fleet. There, they will be safe. Right? 

Wrong. A deadly plague has broken out on one of the ships and is mutating, the ships’s AI has gone AWOL and the enemy ship that was destroying the planet is chasing them, wanting to kill them all. And no one is saying or doing anything. Kady knows her way round computers so she decides to hack their computers to find the truth, but soon realises that she needs one person’s help: Ezra. Yet, there’;s a problem with that: they broke up mere hours before all this crazy started and she’s not sure she wants to talk to him…

Thursday, 13 August 2020

Revisiting the Old Kingdom

During COVID-19 lockdown/self-isolation, I read and audiobook a lot! And, as you probably see from a month or so back, I hit a reading wall and was on verge of reading slump and blogging slump. So, I decided to reread Sabriel, the first book in the Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix. This is usually my Go-To book when I'm on the verge of or in a reading slump as I adore this book!

Plus, me rereading this series is a long time coming as, for the past 18 months, I have openly said that I would reread Lirael, the second book in the series. I've been wanting to reread this for such a long time as, while I adore Sabriel, Lirael has a soft spot in my heart as does Goldenhand (I will explain why a little further down).

So, the past few months, I finally sucked it up and reread the whole series. Expect, I've not reread them. I have audiobooked them, and while I've only ever audiobook Sabriel, so this is a new experience for me, and yet, not quite at the time same.

So, what do I class this? A Reread Post (aka re3 post) or a new post? A mix of both? An experience post?

Not sure where to start, so let's talk about rereading these books and me falling back in love with this world.

I suppose I should explain what the series is about, though that is a little of a hard one to explain. The Old Kingdom series is a high fantasy series which, primary, is set in the Old Kingdom, a kingdom where magic exist (well, two types. Charter Magic and Free Magic) and the Dead can walk, pulled back into Life by nercomancers or Free Magic adapts. Only the Abhorsen can lay the Dead to rest and force them into the cold river of Death and, hopefully, through the Nine Gates.

I suppose I should, also, explain reading order and history as, even as a fan, this is a weird one. Sabriel is the first, published in the UK in 2002 but published in Nix's homeland of Australia in 1995. This was, originally, a standalone so you can easily read this and you would be perfectly fine. Lirael and Abhorsen was published in 2003 and 2004. Set around 20 years after the events of Sabriel, this is one story told over two books, so you have to read this duology together. Clariel is a tricky one - almost the black sheep of the family - as it's a prequel, set around 300 years before the events of Sabriel and things happen in there that have an effect on the series. And Goldenhand takes place six months after the events of Abhorsen.

Which leads to reading order. There are, to my knowledge, three ways you can read this series, if you wish. You can read it in publication order (Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen, Clariel and Goldenhand with the two novellas, Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case and To Hold A Bridge before Goldenhand - yes, there are short stories set in this world, but not gonna touch on them in this post!), you can read in timeline order (Clariel, Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen and Goldenhand) or you do publication order but flip Clariel and Goldenhand about so the order would be Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen, Goldenhand then Clariel.

I know, that last order sounds weird, but it does work and make sense. Because Clariel is a prequel and hints at one or two things to come, you can either read it before or after Goldenhand. You can read it before and go "Oh, that's what happened" or you can read it after and go "Oh, that's what happened!"

But, in either way, I do say read Sabriel first as it sets up the world and magic system and Lirael and Abhorsen is one story told over two books and, if possible, read Clariel and Goldehand as close together if possible, though this isn't essential.

So, my reread and thoughts. Well, to no one's surprise, Sabriel and Lirael are wonderful books. I will happily push these two onto people. They are wonderful and am shocked that it's taken me so long to reread these. The same goes Wirth Abhorsen, though I don't have as much affection to it compared to Sabriel or Lirael. I feared at one point that this would be four stars, but Garth pulls it back right at the end!

Clariel and Goldenhand are odd balls. I've not read these as much compared to the others (only once or twice) and I have read affection for these. I read Goldenhand while in New York City on holiday with my partner who proposed on that trip, hence my soft spot. And with Clariel, I've been waiting for this book for such a long time and, while not my fave in the series, I do keep thinking about the main character, Clariel, quite often as she is quite a complex character.

But this reread was different. And I have two reasons for this. The first is I was audiobooking this time round and, because of that, I had three different narrators. Tim Curry, Graeme Malcolm and Heather Wilds. Now, I have listened to the audiobook of Sabriel many years ago so I have heard Tim Curry reading and I adore his voice. It just fits (plus, how he does Mogget is wonderful) so, I knew I would love his reading of Lirael and Abhorsen. And I did. Hugely.

But, as we all know, he suffered a stroke several years ago, meaning he was unable to continue acting and reading the series. Hence, Graeme and Heather stepping in to read Clariel and Goldenhand. And this is a bit jarring when you are doing one audiobook after another. I am going to be honest here, I see why Graeme was chosen to do Clariel, but I never warmed to his voice. The same goes, up to a point, with Heather. I see why she was chosen and I did like her reading, but some of the choices she made with character's voices were puzzling.

Plus, I did audiobook Goldenhand at the worst possible time in my life (I will explain in further but not now. At the time of writing, it'a too soon and too raw).

But I am, overall, really glad I revisited the Old Kingdom. And with the sixth book in the series coming out the end of next year (it will either be called Terciel and Elinor or Terciel [not sure as getting conflicting info on that front), I can;'t wait to come back into this world. Or maybe reread a book or two before diving straight back!

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Self-Isolation #re3 - Twilight

  • Title And Author: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  • Publisher: Atom
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 513 Pages or 12 Hours 51 Minutes
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones - Audible

Well, this is a turn-up for the books. I decided to reread Twilight. Now, I hold this series quite close to my heart (not Harry Potter close, but I do have affection for this series) and in times of darkness, such as self-isolation/furlodged due to COVID-19, sometimes rereading a book you love or rewatching that TV show, film or playing that video game is needed. 

So, not sure why I went to Twilight and not my normal go-on of Harry Potter or Sabriel, but Twilight I did. 

Now, this isn’t a review. There is no point me doing a review for this book as we all agree that, yes, this is a fun, beach read and a perfect read for something to sweep you along and you happily go along with it. HOWEVER, this book is very problematic. 

The book is very much split into two parts. The first half focuses on the romance, the falling in love for the first time. It’s Bella moving to Forks and falling into lust then love with Edward over a period of several weeks/months. I keep forgetting that the first chunk of the book takes place over a long period of time. That’s because Bella rarely mentions time pasting. 

And yes, people have said Bella is very blank-state Mary-Sue character as you insert yourself into her character (had to rewrite that line as “insert yourself into her” sounds increasely filthy!), and because she’s falling in love for the first time, we too are inserting our first time as well. Plus, as we all know, when you are at the beginning of a relationship, we all are wearing rose-tinted glasses and inserting the qualities we most admire onto the other person and not seeing their flaws, hence why Bella sees Edward’s behaviour as romantic and not as toxic masculainy (though why no one else in the book sees it is anyone’s guess).

Then we have the thriller second-half. I’m not against this - I read/audiobook most of this section in one or two days, but I sense that there were some aspects that were a little too easy. A little too convenient. But I read this section at speed and most readers forget this latter part as, when we think about Twilight and the Saga as a whole, we remember the romance. 

I’m surprised at some of the writing. In some places, it’s fairly solid and others, not so much. As someone who has read most of Stephenie’s novel (barring the Eclipse novel, The Second Short Life of Bree Tanner), I can see that she’s grown as a storyteller and go better with her plotting. Her adult novels, The Host and The Chemist are far better and much stronger (though, out of the two, I would say The Host is far superior. Though I do think The Chemist has its moments and would work much better as a TV show, similar vine to Killing Eve, The Blacklist or Blindspot). 

It was nice going down nostalgia reading lane, and seeing as I want to do a lot more rereads as part of my “Ten Years Book Blogging”, it was nice to reread this and make plans to reread a few other titles… gonna keep these under my hat, for now, though keep eyes peeled on my #re3 page as they might offer you clues…

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Self-Isolation #re3 - Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident

  • Title And Author: Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer
  • Publisher: Puffin
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Borrowed from local library by BorrowBox
  • Length: 306 Pages or 6 Hours 48 Minutes
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones - Audible

I read this YEARS ago when the book was first published in hardback with its super-shiny foiled dustjacket. Now, I only read the first three books (I never carried on for some reason. Maybe it was the first cover change when book 4 was first published or maybe I thought book 3 - The Eternity Code - ended in a good place) but with Disney releasing their movie version Artemis Fowl on Disney+ (this was meant to be released in cinemas but with COVID-19 situation, Disney decided to move this to their streaming services and push back release dates for other releases; their live action Mulan and Marvel’s Black Widow), I felt the urge to reread or grab my hands on the audiobook. So, yes, REREAD TIME!!! 

So, The Arctic Incident. After the whole hostage situation of last year, faerie Holly Short of course thinks child genius and criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl is behind the recent goblin gangs planning an uprising. But, for once, Artemis is innocent (hard to believe, I know!) and he has bigger fish to fry: his missing father is being held for ransom by Russian Mafia and he needs to be saved. So, Artemis needs to clear his name, save his father and figure out what’s going on with the People…

Thursday, 19 March 2020

#re3 - Ark Angel

  • Title And Author: Ark Angel by Anthony Horowitz
  • Publisher: Walker Books
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Borrowed from local library via BorrowBox
  • Length: 344 Pages or 8 Hours 21 Minutes
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones - Audible

Reread Time! I did warn you guys that this year, seeing as 2020 will be my tenth year of book blogging (October, I believe), I did want to do some more past reads, whether that be something I chatted on the blog before or something from my youth. And I have been failing that. Oh well… but not for long… 

I first read Ark Angel when it first came out in April 2005 (NO ONE DO THE MATHS TO FIGURE OUT MY AGE!) and I remember very little about it. But I always had plans to go back into the series and reread some of the earlier books in the series and read the books I skipped. Been thinking this on and off since I read Never Say Die back in 2017 (Really? 2017?!). So, this year, on a random moment, I looked at my BorrowBox app and saw the series on there, I went “Oh, I really want to relisten to the second Alex Rider, Point Blanc, as it’s my fave and the TV adaption is based on this”. And then, one day after I DNFed another audiobook (wasn’t in right mindset for it. Am planning to go back to it one day), I was skimming it as none of my audiobooks I bought appealed to me and I saw Ark Angel was available to download instantly (the others I had to request and wait). So, on impulse, I requested and listened. 

After the shock ending at the end of book 5 in the series, Scorpia (I REALLY need to reread this. It’s such a goodie!), Alex is recovering in hospital. But he’s not going to recover for long as the body in the hospital room next door is going to get kidnap, Alex does a switch and gets himself kidnapped instead. Eco-terrorists Force 3, led by Kasper, are gunning for the boy’s father, Nikolei Drevin, one of the world’s wealthiest developers and the man who is single-handedly funding the first luxury outer-space hotel, Ark Angel. Alex manages to escape and, as a thank you for saving his son’s life, Nikolei offers Alex a holiday to rest, relax and becoming friends with his son, Paul…

But the more time Alex spends with Nikolei, the more he feels uneasy around him. Something’s not quite right, and Alex might not be out of the spying game like he hoped…

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

#re3 Audiobook Review - The Diviners

  • Title And Author: The Diviners by Libba Bray
  • Publisher: Atom
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought 
  • Length: 583 Pages or 18 Hours 14 Minutes 
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones - Audible

If you have followed the Pewter Wolf for quite some time, you would know that I have a bit of a history with The Diviners. I tried to read this when the book first came out and I DNFed it halfway through. A year or so later, I tried again, this time on audiobook and I finished it. And while there were things I did like, there were others things that I didn’t (I’ll pop link to that write-up here). So… what made me decide to go back? 

Answer: I have no idea. A few weeks before Christmas, I was looking up the second book in the Diviners series, Lair of Dreams, and after I returned an audiobook I disliked, I used the credit for that. I went “Well, if I’m going to listen to Lair, I should relisten to Diviners.” Once I thought of this, I was a little excited. Plus, as 2020 is my tenth year of blogging, this would be a nice way to celebrate - reread or relisten to some titles of my past. Plus, over the course of the next few weeks on me making this decision, I had somehow got my hands on the rest of the series so, guess what I’ll be planning to audiobook in the next few months! 

So, my relisten to Diviners...

Normally, I don’t do a recap when it comes to a #re3/reread but am going to do it as it’s been so long since I blogged this as seeing as I don’t know anyone who is reading this series as this series is coming to a close… 

1920s New York. The time for flappers, speakeasys, jazz and gin. Life is for partying. America survived the Great War. And New York is the centre of it all. 

And for Evie o’Neil, it’s her escape. After being sent to New York to live with her uncle after her latest scandal, Evie sees this as her chance to finally live. To be thoroughly modern and daring. To live life and come to terms with her gift. To be free of the past. 

But New York has a dark side. A killer is on the loose, killing people and calling each his offerings to the Beast. They’re all gruesome deaths. And the New York Police don’t know how the solve them nor stop the killer from striking again. 

Evie’s gift might be able to help. She can see things while touching items. She could use it to stop the killer. But if she’s not careful, the killer will see her and will go after her… 

And all the while, a bigger storm is coming…

Thursday, 12 December 2019

#re3 Audiobook Review - Shadow and Bone

  • Title And Author: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  • Publisher: Orion
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Borrowed from local library via BorrowBox
  • Length: 352 Pages or 8 Hours and 55 Minutes
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones - Audible

This is the third time I have read or attempted to read it. The first was back into 2013 and I liked it. But there was something “meh” about it. Something three stars about it and something that held me back from continuing the series. I, then, tried to reread it earlier this year (June?) as I was, very kindly, given by the publisher an eBook copy to celebrate the release of King of Scars. I did try and I struggled. I got to about 38% then went “I’m done”. Rewind to a few weeks ago, I was playing around on my BorrowBox app and, even though I have several audiobooks I really should be listening to or thinking about requesting due to my commitments to NetGalley titles and publishers, I saw this and went “Maybe if I audiobook it, I might fine it easier to get into…”

Hence, that’s what I’ve done. I audiobooked it over the course of 3 days at work.

Alina Starkov is a simple map-maker, an orphan and refuge so when her army regiment is taken into the Shadow Fold to cross Ravka, yes, she is scared. Because the once great nation is torn in two due to the Fold, darkness that is filled with creatures that feast on human flesh. And no-one, not even the powerful Grisha or their leader, the Darkling, can defeat it. 

So when her regiment is attacked in the Fold and her best friend, Mal, is brutally injured, Alina does something no-one, not even herself, expects. She reveals a dormant power of bring forth light. This power could be the key to saving her war-torn country. And because of this, she is snatched away from everything and everyone she knows into the lavish world of Grisha court and the royal court to train and control her power. 

But not everything in this new world is what it seems and Alina must be careful when it comes to the secrets of the Grisha and the secrets of her own heart…

Friday, 25 October 2019

Audiobook Review - Eragon

  • Title And Author: Eragon by Christopher Paolini
  • Publisher: Random House (Corgi)
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Borrowed from local library via BorrowBox
  • Length: 528 Pages or 16 Hours 22 Minutes
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones - Audible

At the beginning of the year, I said I was going to try and read the whole Inheritance Cycle and His Fair Assassin series. I failed. I fully accept that I sucked that sticking to my reading plans (hence why I NEVER do “This is my TBR for the month” list). But I did want to try and read this series all the way through. I have read Eragon years ago and I did enjoy myself hugely with it. So, when I was on my library audiobook app and I saw this, I requested it. 

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone, he thinks it’ll be worth something. Maybe he could sell it for meat. But he can’t and, almost overnight, his simple farm boy life is shattered as the stone isn’t a stone but a dragon’s egg. Soon, the egg hatches and, as Eragon and the dragon (who he needs Saphira) bond, both are thrown into a dark world beyond the farm…

Monday, 23 September 2019

#re3 Murder Month 2019 - Murder On The Orient Express

  • Title And Author: Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Physical
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 240 Pages
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones - Audible

I am going to say this now but this reread wasn’t planned to happened. After I finished reading Howl’s Moving Castle (link here to read my write-up) where I struggled to finished, I wanted something light to read. Something fast. Something I could finish within a week. My brain decided that, even though I was thinking of reading this for Murder Month, I wanted to reread Murder on the Orient Express. So, I read this back in August and decided to pop my write-up of this now… 

I think we all know the basic premise of Murder on the Orient Express, but to refresh your memory, this is the tenth outing for Hercule Poirot and he is returning to Paris after a telegram comes to him, begging him to return to London. While on the Orient Express, his is approached by an American, Samuel Ratchett, who wants to hire Poirot as his personal detective. Poirot refuses, not liking the man. But the following morning, Poirot discovers that Ratchett is dead, stabbed 12 times while he slept and that Orient Express is at a standstill due to a vicious snowstorm, meaning the murderer is still on the train…

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

#re3 - Quidditch Through the Ages

  • Title And Author: Quidditch Through the Ages by JK Rowling
  • Publisher: Pottermore
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Borrowed by BorrowBox & Essex Libraries
  • Length: 64 Pages or 3 Hours
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones - Audible

Ok, this is a #re3 for me. Of course it is, it’s Harry Potter related! But I have never listened to the audiobook version before so not sure whether to class this as a review for the whole audiobook or just for the bits I haven’t read, but this audiobook has extras that aren’t in the book edition. 

So, for those of you who don’t know: Quidditch Through the Ages was first referenced in the Harry Potter series as one of the books the characters read from Hogwarts Library and, back in 2001, JK Rowling published this and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (another Hogwarts text book) to raise money for the charity, Comic Relief. Several years later, while continuing to raise money for Comic Relief, money also went to JK Rowling’s own charity, Lumos. 

Basically, Quidditch Through the Ages looks through the history of Quidditch, the UK and Ireland teams, positions and balls. Plus, the audiobook has over an hour extra content of looking into the history of the Qudditch World Cup and newspaper reports of the Quidditch World Cup 2014 and transcript of the Quidditch World Cup Final 2014 from Ginny Potter and Rita Skeeter. 

Which, at the time of requesting the audiobook from my library audiobook app, I didn’t know the extra content was there. I saw it and went “Why Not!”

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

#re3 - Sweep: Volume One

  • Title And Author: Sweep: Volume One (Book of Shadows, The Coven and Blood Witch) by Cate Tiernan
  • Publisher: SPEAK 
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Physical
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 592 Pages
  • Buy From: Book Depository

My second #re3 (or is my second, third and fourth? You see why in a second) of 2019 and it’s a bind-up of the first three novels (and I use that word loosely) within the Sweep series. Now, this is a bind-up on the first few books in the series, hence me wondering if this is my second reread or my second, third and fourth rereads (I’m going with the latter) and if you guys in the UK aren’t sure if you heard this series, don’t worry. This series was first published in the UK back in 2001 under the series name Wicca (though most people I know call this series Sweep).

Am trying to figure out how to talk about this as to me, these are three short novels/novellas (the longest instalment - Blood Witch - is 202 pages and the previous two are around 170 pages). Ok, let’s do the basics. Morgan Rowlands is an ordinary girl in the small New York state town of Widow’s Vale. She has a loving family, great friends - till Cal and his mother moves to town. Cal becomes the centre of attention and invites several students to a house warming party - including Morgan and best friend, Bree. Expect this house warming party ends with Cal revealing he and his family study Wiccan and he invites his peer to do a circle to celebrate Mabon. Morgan and Bree start and Morgan slowly begins to realise that she has a connection to Wicca, and the more her connection to Wicca grows, the closer she grows to Cal even though Bree has fallen for him… 

But where will Morgan’s newfound connection to Witchcraft take her?

So… thoughts!

Friday, 19 July 2019

#re3 - A Discovery of Witches

My first #re3 of 2019! I know, it’s six months and I only start to reread and relisten some titles (and I have a rough number of books I wish to reread or relisten to this year. I need to get my rear in gear over the next few months). So, let’s get the book info out of the way!

  • Title And Author: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  • Publisher: Headline
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 704 Pages or 23 Hours 59 Minutes 
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Waterstones - Audible

This is my third listen to this audiobook (I only listen to the second and third instalment of this series for the first time at the start of last year and read the companion novel at the end of last year - plus, I met Deborah at a book signing last year and watched the Sky One TV adaption so, of course, I like this series!). But I had an itch to relisten to this and maybe try and do the whole trilogy again… maybe… 

Now, with my #re3 posts, I don’t do reviews. Why would be the point of doing a review of me rereading or relistening to a story I enjoy? 

I’m not sure if I should explain what this book is about or not? Normally, I don’t think I do, it’s so long since I’ve done a #re3 or a reread post, I’m not trusting myself. So, let’s pretend that I do know what I am doing and we’ll carry on from there. 

In Oxford, Diana Bishop discovers an myserteous alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library. It has magic on it and, as Diana is a witch who refuses her magical heritage, returns the book back to the library. But the book has been missing for centuries and now, every witch, vampire and daemon is watching Diana, waiting for her to call it back. But Diana’s careful world, the world she’s built for herself since her parents deaths, is beginning to crumble and come apart. Enter vampire Matthew Clairmont, who has been searching for the manuscript for over a century or more. As the two begin to figure out why this manuscript is so important, the two begin to grow closer… there are rules saying vampires, witches and daemons shouldn’t be friends. But Diana and Matthew are going to cross that line…

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

5 Physical Books I Want To Reread If I Had Time

I felt a bit flat on Sunday. I wanted to write a blog post about something - possible 2019 plans, my thoughts of Waterstones buying Foyles, a few other bits and pieces - but nothing really settled with me.

So when I mentioned this on Twitter, wondering if I should go back to my reading of Time's Convert by Deborah Harkness, Gavin from @gavreads said the following:

This made me go "OOOH!". One of the downsides to being a book blogger is we have a huge TBR and it's rare to go back and reread books unless we can make time or audiobook it. But this idea intrigued me as I went "Ok, what 5 would I reread if I had the time...? And no, I can't just say Harry Potter! That's cheating and you always try and find time to reread Potter so behave." And when I started thinking of this post, the list came quite fast. But when I looked at my bookshelves, I kept going "Oh, you! And you! And [gasp] I forgot about you!!!". And when I started writing this, I went "Wait, this list is basically all the physical books I own/want to reread. Not any eBooks" so that post is going to be written in the next week so keep eyes peeled... 

So, deep breaths! We are going in...

Friday, 22 June 2018

#re3 - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

As you guys know, I have been feeling in a bit of a reading slump - which is weird when you look at the blog posts that have been going over the past few weeks. Still talking and reviewing stories in book/ebook/audiobook form. But it has been a weird few weeks as I have been feeling a tad ... it's hard to explain. I have wrote a blog post (which will never see the light of day - not yet, maybe never), where I tried to figure it out and while I'm still in that blogger/reader mindset, real life has thrown a huge "life-changing" thing at me (not bad, FYI. Is good. Very good. But not gonna say anything for another few weeks), so my reading and blogging is going to be a bit erratic for a while. I might even do a small blog break randomly till things calm down.

Now with that public announcement out there (if anything changes, I will let you know via Twitter), let's reread Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Ok, back story. Because of reading slump, I decided I wanted to do a few rereads. A bit overwhelmed where to start, I did a poll of twitter, asking what series to go towards: Harry Potter, Twilight Saga, The Old Kingdom, or Hunger Games/Artemis Fowl (I wanted 4 opinions here the merging of these two series). Just the series, not the book. And, of course, you chose Potter. So, decided to do another flash poll of Twitter on which Potter book to read: Chamber, Prisoner, Goblet or Order (no to Philosopher as this is my usual fail-safe for reading slumps. Plus, I thought you would say Goblet or Chamber for some reason). But, of course, you chose Prisoner. Which I am grateful for as I have this on several forms (book and audiobook - Chamber would have been a tad tricky as I don't have this on  audiobook - I had on CD but not audible...), so I could jump back and forth between the two styles of storytelling while at work and home.

I have actually gone back to my previous #re3 of Prisoner of Azkaban back in my Harry Potter #re3 Challenge (if you want to check out my rereading of Harry Potter in 2015, ta-dah!) to see if I agreed of disagree with myself and, for the most part, I do. I still think Snape is a bad person - a bully, hypocrite, bitter, an abuser ever (I am willing to go that far). And yet, the fandom sees him as flawed.... I need to sit down and do a blogpost about Snape in the future as OH, I have thoughts and opinions on this and I really, REALLY want to vent.

What does surprise me is my thoughts of Lupin? Now, I love Lupin. He's a flawed human who is kind and a decent human, but makes mistakes and suffers terribly. He says and does things that, when other characters say them seem underhanded and a tad cruel, he says it in a way where Harry and us go "He's right". Though, on this reread, he doesn't seem as fleshed out as I remember him behind. Same with Sirius and Pettigrew, but these two have very little screen time compared to Lupin. I still love Lupin, but, as this is a children's book and Lupin is a teacher, we don't see him as a human being. We see him as a teacher. Harry (and us) see a more fleshed-out, rounded character at the end of the book and in the upcoming books, which now I might have to read.

What's so interesting to read this time round is the tiny little clues with the future and how this mirrors Order of the Phoenix. Most fans believe in the "Ring Theory" - where each book reflects a later book (Philosopher's reflect Deathly Hallows, Chamber reflects Prince, Prisoner reflects Order and Goblet stands alone because it's the turning point in the series). Harry "officially" mets the Minister of Magic in Prisoner and it's on friendly terms whereas in Order, the terms have become dangerous frosty. We met Sirius in Prisoner and we say goodbye to him in Order. We're told Trelawney has made a second correct prophecy in Prisoner and in Order, we find out her first and we have to deal with prophecies as a whole. We talk about Harry's dad (Harry hero-worships, up to a point) and Snape's hatred for him in Prisoner and in Order, we see why Snape disliked James so much and the rose-tainted glasses come off Harry when he thinks about his father. He's just a human who made mistakes and is hugely flawed. Yes, Prisoner and Order are very much Harry's books about his father...

I adore Hermione in this and am still hissy over Ron and Harry's treatment of her in the book. I get why, but still...

Also, what surprised me was there were one or two occasions, I paused the audiobook and didn't return to it for a while due to a knot in stomach over what was about to happen next. This happened a lot in the chapters Talons and Tea Leaves but it happened once or twice with other chapters - I believe it was Grim Defeat - and there were times I had to stop audiobook as I wanted to read the next section (in some cases, this was great idea. In one, not so sure as I sped-read!).

But I really enjoyed returning to rereading Harry Potter and I should reread this series (and other books) in general. So, this might be something I do more often in the coming few months. You have been warned.

PS - I now own the illustrated version of Prisoner of Azkaban (the only illustrated I own... I plan to get Goblet and, possibly, Order as well) and i jumped a few times to see what Jim Kay drew in where I was reading. Some I went "YES!" and others I went "...what?". But it's a beautiful edition and I plan to pour over my copy soon... ish...

Thursday, 15 February 2018

#re3 - Mortal Engines

I'm not whether to class this as a book review or a #re3. Because I have read this once before. But it has been over ten years and I can tell you when and where I read this (but I won't due to personal reasons and I don't want the first paragraph within this post to be black and heavy). 

So, why did I decide to reread this? I've been toying with rereading this but the past few months due to the series celebrating its 15th anniversary, and with the movie coming out later this year, it piped my interest. So when I saw it a few months back being 99p, I knew it was time. 

In the future, cities are no one set in one place. They move. They roam. They eat smaller cities. London used to be one of the cities that small cities fear, but it's been in hiding. Now, it's roaming again, and its mayor have sinister plans, and third-class apprentice Tom finds himself caught up in it when he sees an assassin try to kill London's Head Historian, Valentine. When he corners the assassin, he discovers an angry, scarred teenage girl who shouts "Ask him what he did to Hester Shaw!" before she jumps down a waste chute. Within minutes, Tom is falling down that same chute, pushed by Valentine... 

And London is racing across the Hunting Ground towards an unknown goal and something is hunting Shaw... 

So, how do I feel about this? Well... kinda the same as I did when I read it the first time round over ten years ago. I liked the idea but I struggled with the execution and the writing style. 

I'm not sure what else I can say about my feeling on it. I really liked this idea of cities being on wheels and moving, eating others. I haven't heard any other books do this or take it to the extreme that Philip Reeve did. And there were elements in here I hooked onto to - the character of Shrike I found fascinating and wanted to know more about him. 

But, there were tings that didn't work for me. There were times I didn't click with the writing. I don't know if it was the writing style or the tone of the book I didn't gel with, but I didn't connect to it in the way I would have liked. And because of this things happened that made me tilt my head and go "That feels odd". Some of the characters and their relationships felt odd at times - rushed in places. I know this was meant to be a standalone novel when it was first published and then it was turned into a four book series, but the relationships ad character developments in this felt off. 

It's a mixed bag for me. I know people who have read this and adore Mortal Engines and the books that follow in this series and its prequel trilogy. But not everyone is going to love the same book so I am at peace with my feelings towards this. Will I consider reading the second book in the series, Predator's Gold? Maybe... It really depends on my mood and on my TBR, which at the moment is all over the place due the events happening behind the scenes... So, we shall see... 

Thursday, 1 February 2018

#re3 - The Forgotten

I am blaming Better Words podcast for this.

So, I was listening to a random episode when the hosts, Michelle and Caitlin, were chatting about podcasts they listen to. One of them mentioned a recent discovery - The Babysitters Club Club - and how it was funny, thoughtful and cool to hear two guys reread and chat about the book series. Now, I have fallen out of love with my recent podcast obsessions (so much so, I had unsubscribed to several of my faves - Nightvale, No Such Thing As Fish, etc) and scared of going near news/comedy based shows (Brexitcast and Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4), I thought I would give this a whirl. But I didn't. I never read Babysitters Club so wasn't sure if I would enjoy it. So, I wondered what books I read when I was younger. And the answer jumped into my head very quickly: didn't I go through a year-long phase of reading KA Applegate's Animorphs? And look, there's two Animorphs podcasts you can listen to - Thought-Speak and Morph Club.

So, after binging random episodes of Animorphs books I never read (my obsession lasted a year and I think I quit the series halfway though the David trilogy so around book 21/22), I thought What if. A dangerous question but what if this series was super awesome and stupid preteen me quit too soon? Shouldn't I go back and see if it holds up? So, probably against my better judgement, I bought a very battered second-hand copy of the first Animorphs book I ever read: The Forgotten (aka book 11 of the series).

Ok, before I go further, history lesson time! Animorphs was a sci-fi series, written between 1996 to 2001-ish) about five preteens (well, at the start of the series) seeing a spaceship crash and, after trying to save the alien's life, gaining the power to morph. This power comes with a huge problems as these five are the only ones that can stop a secret alien invasion of the Yeerks coming to take over the planet. The series was written under the pen-name KA Applegate (which was wife and husband duo, Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant) and then, around book 25, was ghostwritten (though Applegate gave highly detailed outlines for each book).

Apparently, Scholastic tried to reboot the series in 2011 with new covers and update some pop culture reference but, due to poor sales, they stopped this after republishing the eight book in the series, The Alien. Since then, this series has been out of print and can only get second hand.

And with that out of the way, The Forgotten. The eleventh book in the series (and told from Jake's POV), we follow the Animorphs who discover someone crashed a Yeerk spaceship. But the Animorphs decide to try and get he spaceship and show Earth that they are being invaded. But with Jake getting weird flashes of something, the Animorphs and some of the Yeerks (including the leader of the invasion, Visser Three) find themselves in another place, another time, and with little to no way of getting home...

I read this in two hours. It wasn't that taxing and it was nice to read something I could switch my brain off to. And I get why my preteen self enjoyed reading this. It was fast paced, and it was fun to read. We had kids and aliens transforming into animals and fighting back against aliens.

But, my 30-something year old self does go "You know, if this series was going to do a true reboot, then this book would be much longer than 170-odd pages, the type would be smaller and the plot would be much much darker".

I think there has been a definite change in stories and their tone from when this was first published (in the UK, 1998) and now (2018 - 20 years gap!). The books would have been longer, darker, gritter and maybe not so long a series run (Animorphs ran for 52 books and this doesn't include the spinoff books such as Megamorphs, the Chronicles and Choose Your Own Anternamorphs [which I didn't know existed till researching this!]).

Although this was a nice nostalgia read (I did buy another secondhand book from another KA Applegate series, Everworld - because, apparently, I have more money then sense), it shows how much I have grown and changed as a reader over the past *mumbles so no-one hears exact number* years.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Library Book Review - The Uncommon Reader

This is actually a reread (or a #re3, if you want what I call). I read this years ago when this first came out and I enjoyed it back then. So, when I started thinking about rereading (you can blame Radio 2 who has a thingy of "Alan Bennett" on the Steve Wright show in the afternoons - my old job had Radio 2 on ALL THE TIME!!!), it made me think of this and I went "Ok, maybe I should reread this." So, I requested this from my library and here we are!

When the corgis take the Queen to a travelling library that was just outside the kitchens of Buckingham Palace, she feels guilt and takes a book out. The book she picks wasn't to her liking, but she feels guilty and takes out another. This book is a huge success and it turns the Queen into a reader. Soon, the Queen is reading more and more and people around her become concerned about her...

This is, very much, a novella for readers. It's a gentle read which is very much an ode to books and libraries. There's not much I can say about this, but it is a gentle read which I hugely enjoyed.

There were one or two things that made me go "Huh" over but, as I read her over a month go (before Christmas Eve, FYI), I can't remember what they were.

But this is a gentle ode to readers and libraries. Not sure if I would read other Alan Bennett's as I heard that his humour is a little more in your face and I prefer this subtle humour.

Friday, 24 November 2017

#re3 - A Discovery of Witches

I listened to this audiobooks years ago (I just checked. It was back in 2011 when I was only just getting the hang on this book blogging - and probably when I was better at reviewing a story), and for a while, I've been wondering if I should relisten to this story again for the past few months.

It's mainly because of the news that this book and the rest of the trilogy is being turned into a TV series that will be aired on Sky One (late 2018, I think but don't hold me to that) that made me go "Ok, I want to return to this world".

Ok, let me go back to the beginning. The story follows Diana Bishop, a witch who is trying hard not to be a witch. When she was in an Oxford library, she is given a manuscript which has magic within its pages. But she has no idea how important this manuscript is. If she had, she wouldn't have returned it.

But she did and now, every witch, vampire and demon is watching her, waiting for her recall the manuscript in question. One of which is Matthew Clairmont, a vampire who has been looking for the manuscript for over a century. But as two begin to work together, they are breaking rules about how creatures such as witches and vampires intermix. And if they are not careful, they're are going to find themselves falling into something worst than danger: they could fall in love...

So, how do I feel about returning to this world? It surprised me a little as, while I did enjoy it the first time round, I think I enjoyed this story a little bit more. I still have problems with this (which I am coming to in a moment) but there was something about the story and writing I enjoyed. It felt oddly rich in mythology and in story-telling and I liked this. Maybe I am more "grown up" enough to enjoy this series.

I think the problems I have with the audiobook originally are still there. The length is a problem. Mainly because, as time, it felt oddly too much. There was so much detail that weren't need or necessary, and it slowed the story down. Also, there were moments with one or two characters that I went "I don't like this character trait". Matthew is a good example. I fully get why he is the way he is - because he's a vampire and his history - but there were times I went "Even though you warned Diana and the readers about this trait, I don't like it. I don't warm to this" and because of that, I questioned Diana's relationship with him.

Another thing is one or two things felt very convenient. I was more aware of this near the end of my listening. Mainly because I listened to the last few chapters back to back (over two hour-ish binge). But I did go "Oh" over it.

But, with that all said, I am more intrigued to carry the series on. I might not rush out to get second book, but I might make plans to get my hands on a copy in 2018.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

#re3 - Artemis Fowl

I read Artemis Fowl years ago - actually, read the first three books in the series. And I really enjoyed them back in the day. But, for one reason or another, I never carried on after the third book - Artemis Fowl And The Eternity Code - in the series. I think there was a cover change or maybe I felt that  it was the right place for me to stop.

But recently, over the past year, I have been wanting to going back and reread Artemis. Mainly the first 2 books - Artemis Fowl and Artemis Fowl and Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident - as I have warm feelings about them. Maybe if I get sucked into them again, I will reread Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code and want to carry on and read the rest of the series that I have missed out on. Plus, with Disney making a movie based on the first book (something I discovered back in the summer), I knew it was time...

But would it still stand up to my memory... I mean, this was firs published in UK in 2001 and a lot has changed. For example - that cover. I hate this cover! I much prefer the original - the shiny gold cover that, if anyone annoyed you, you can reflect light off it and use it as a weapon... if I can find it, will pop it down below somewhere!

Any, let's get past the cover and talk about the book, shall we?

Artemis Fowl the Second is a criminal genius and, at only twelve, is plotting his biggest money making scheme to date. If he's going to restore the family fortune, a bit of kidnapping will have to do.

But to kidnap a fairy?

When Artemis kidnaps Captain Holly Short of the LEP (Lower Elements Police), he doesn't realise that the world he's about to discover has highly armed, highly dangerous and extremely high-tech - fairies that will fight back.

Artemis Fowl might have underestimated them and, in the process, could trigger a cross-species war...

I couldn't help smiling while reread this. I forgot so much detail and yet, remember the basic plotline so I flew through. It was fun, and that's why rereads are a good thing to us readers/bloggers.

I think if I discovered this when I was 12, I would have devoured this series. This could have been my Harry Potter if I was 12 when this first came out. But I was in my late teens when this came, hence maybe one of the many reasons I didn't carry on with this series.

There is one or two things that niggle at me (the timeline in the first few chapters are off - Artemis seems to take place over a series of weeks/months whereas Holly takes place over a night, but there is no telling them apart due to how the scenes are written). Plus, I think it could have a few extra pages due to some pacing.

But, this was fun and I loved returning to this world. I am very much looking forward to read Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident in the coming few months (soon!) and, hopefully, this will spur me on to read the rest of the series.